Menstrual Cup 101: Everything I Know About Menstrual Cup #PlasticFreePeriod

Feb 25, 2020

Trigger warning: Blood, mensuration, periods.





What is a menstrual cup? It is a small silicone conical cup with a stem - as if the base is cut off from a wine glass. You insert it in (did I scared you here? I will talk more about this in the next posts). Unlike other feminine care options (not going to say female hygiene products because periods are not 'unhygienic'), it does not absorb menstrual blood but collects it. After 8-10 hours (or 4-6 in case of heavy flow), you can pull it out, remove the blood, and reinsert. You can use the same cup for years. Just sanitize after the end of the cycle and keep in a breathable pouch (else it becomes hard). Most brands sell theirs in one pouch.

Why did I switch? Frankly, the only reason was that I was fed up with the plastic garbage I was creating every month. It was heartbreaking for me. Here I am not even using a plastic spoon and Styrofoam plates but creating this bag full of garbage every month that just go into landfill. I wanted to switch a long time back, but I had my inhibitions. Also, there were not many options in India.

Why should one switch? Other than the fact that you practically create zero waste (imagine all the plastic that just goes into landfill and is neither recycled nor decomposed), here are other things that I observed while using a menstrual cup that converted me for life.



1. It creates a vacuum inside and collects all the blood. All of it. There is nothing on your toilet seat when you use one. There is no scene of blood when you pee or poop. Clean underwear. Clean linen. Nothing to rub to take off blood from. No bloody laundry to take care of.

2. Zero rashes or discomfort of sitting on your blood for three days. No TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). No ugly feeling of suddenly giving birth to a jellyfish (You know it when you know it)

3. Does not negatively affect your vaginal flora.

4. I almost forget that I am on my periods because there is nothing when I use the loo. Other than the slight cramps, I was free. I did not have to keep on checking after I sit or stand up too quickly or sneeze. (On my third cycle, I completely forgot that I was on periods. I had to keep reminders in my phone to remind me to empty the cup) Also, my menstrual cramps have reduced a lot over the cycles, and I no longer need to take muscle relaxants. 

5. Freedom. You can wear anything you please. You can go to the pool. You can take a bath in a bathtub. You can run. The freedom possibilities are endless. Your life goes on like the other days of the month. Zero interruptions. 

6. You can comfortably wear it on low flow days without worrying about your private parts becoming too dry. If you are expecting aunt Flo, then you can insert it before your periods begin. I used it even on my last day instead of a pantyliner.

7. Tiny and easy to pack. Imagine the space you save by not packing pads or tampons. But, if it a long trip, then you might want to carry a tiny pan to sterilize it.

8. No worries about disposing of things. Zero hassles. I am thinking of removing the trash bin from my bathroom :D Imagine the freedom while traveling, especially to remote locations. (There is a problem when it comes to the clean water/toilet paper scenario while traveling in not-so-developed places. I will talk about it in next posts)

9. No worries of smell because the blood is not drying. No concerns about dogs picking your scent.

10. Economical. A cup in India costs around Rs 250-800 depending on the brand. It will last you for 10 years (at least 5!). Even if you use one for just one year, imagine the bucks you will save.

Overall: If you have tried tampons or if you are married/sexually active, there is no way you should not try a menstrual cup. Thankfully, there are several options in India for varying budgets. Choose one and try. It is very liberating. I almost felt cheated that such an efficient method was not accessible to me for so many years - all the pools I could have dipped in, all the trails I could have walked, all the fancy dresses I could have worn on several special occasions. Practically, it is as if you just skipped your periods. You do not have to deal with it more than twice or thrice a day instead of continuously for 24 hours. No laundry to deal with. No worries about staining.

Please switch. It is excellent for you and the planet.

Love,
Shayoni

[This is part one of a four-part series. Yes, I wrote in details everything I hope someone had told me before I started using them or when I was thinking about switching to menstrual cups]

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